904 words

Diagraming with Figma and Flowkit

To understand a problem fully, I need to visualize it. To map it. I need space to group thing together. I feel like simply writing is very limitating. Keeping it all in your head doesn't help either. That's why I've always been a huge fan of diagraming.

It's a big part of understanding problems for me. The beauty of it is that we can diagram anywhere. Whiteboards, paper, or on software. Then we can share those diagrams with people and it makes it much more easy for them to understand as well. Everyone wins.

Today I have tried Figma, which I wanted to try for a while. What I like about it is its accessibility - we can use it directly from the browser without needing to download anything. But also that it has collaboration and prototyping directly out of the box. Anyway, I wanted to use it for diagraming and sharing those diagrams.

After some research I came across Flowkit. It's a library of flow component available on both Sketch and Figma. It's been very intuitive and fun to use, and I feel like the results are very good looking. I'm looking forward to using that more in the future, and incorporating Figma as a part of my day-to-day whenever I want to visualize something.

Some idea I'd like to explore in the future is to bring together diagrams and prototype. In Figma it's possible to attach different frame together through hot points, and I think this could be a great way explore diagrams and add context. That way, we could have high-level views and allow to dive into specific parts.

It would look a little like that. As you can see, there's one node we can click. When we click on it we are taken to a lower-level diagram. Then I linked the ending node back to the upper level one.

Two types of questions

There are two types of questions. The first kind allows you to gather information. They let you get factual data from the person you are asking it to. They are easy to answer if you have the information, and they let you keep the flow. An example of that is a "yes/no" question: "Do you have all the information you need?".

The problem with those close-ended question is that they don't allow you to deeply understand the other person. They are great at giving you quick answers but bad at letting you know the global picture. They are also terrible if you want to have a meaningful discussion with anybody. Imagine talking to someone and having that person bombarding you with them. It would feel very awkward at best, and not enjoyable for any side.

The other kind of question are open-ended ones. They require meaningful thinking before being able to answer. It's not about giving out facts one after the other, but rather requires the other one to pause and comprehend before answering. They shift the control of the dialog as well. If we go back to "Do you have all the information you need?", an open-ended way of asking it would be "What other information do you need?". That would require the person to think about what is missing.

So are closed-ended questions bad? I don't think so. They allow you to prob and build an understanding before going deeper into a subject. They let you fill in gaps of knowledge you have by being focused. However they won't let you uncover what's behind those answers.

37 Steps to Screw up a Product Demo as a Sales Engineer

  • Arrive a little late, blame it on starbucks
  • No need to introduce yourself, be straight to the point
  • Avoid setting the agenda, they might question it
  • Don’t do discovery, it’s not about them, it’s about you
  • Take out your laptop, make sure it doesn’t have a lot of battery
  • Bonus point if you actually forget your computer
  • No need for wifi, tethering is fine
  • Spend 10 minutes to find the demo, say a few jokes meanwhile
  • Remember you didn’t prepare anything, so look a little confused
  • Much better if there’s no TV to present, you want that intimacy feeling
  • Make sure you don’t know the audience, your pitch is solid as is
  • Ok, take a deep breath, it’s your moment
  • Speak fast
  • Make sure it’s very loud so that people in other meetings hear you and join
  • Use a lot of filler words
  • Don’t know the product
  • Forget story telling
  • Say “micro-service” at least twice
  • Forget your battery charger
  • Explain one feature at a time
  • Your computer is dead, ask to use someone’s computer
  • Always explain what, but not why
  • Make sure it’s long and a little boring, if it’s too exciting it’s suspicious
  • Receive email confirmation from dubious amazon orders
  • Have slack open
  • Do not take notes, you don’t want to be distracted
  • Monotonic voice, it will hypnotize them
  • Do not ask question, keep it a one-way discussion
  • Forget to breath and keep speaking
  • Wait 3 seconds between each word you say. It’s more dramatic like that.
  • Did I mention not to leave room for questions?
  • In doubt, say “yes”
  • Actually, just say “yes” as much as possible
  • Avoid next steps at all cost
  • Make sure the meeting run over a little, it means it was good